Collapsed Topics

Course formats ::: format_topcoll
Maintained by Gareth J BarnardGareth J Barnard
An interchangeable topic or week based format that solves the issue of the 'Scroll of Death' when a course has many topics.
Latest release:
6042 sites
145 fans
Current versions available: 23

An interchangeable topic or week (day for 2.3.1+) based format that solves the issue of the 'Scroll of Death' when a course has many topics / weeks. All sections except zero have a toggle that displays that section. One or more sections can be displayed at any given time. Toggles are persistent on a per browser session per course basis but can be made to persist longer by a small code change. Full installation instructions, code adapt-ions and credits are included in the '' file.

If you have a course with more than fifty two sections then currently the toggle persistence will not work for the fifty third section and above.  Then you need to upgrade to the Moodle 2.5 version+.


The format comes with NO support.  Please see the 'Support' section in '' file that comes with the format.  This is because the format is complex and I regret that I don't have the time / resources to freely assist with questions pertaining to specific enhancements / changes / knowledge improvement.

I will investigate genuine bugs and issue fixes in a timescale set by myself.  When reporting issues you MUST clearly state the full version and release of both Moodle and the Collapsed Topics format as contained within their 'version.php' files - if not it takes me longer to figure out, often resulting in me asking for the details anyway and slowing the process of solving your problem down.  It really helps to read the 'Reporting Issues' section in the '' file and upload and describe in detail the issue you are having on the 'Course formats' forum.


NEW: 'The Complete Guide to Collapsed Topics' (and 'Blurb') book is now available, covering: installation, upgrade, uninstallation, course and global features, resetting, capabilities, language strings, overriding icons / styles in a theme and adding a new icon set.

The Complete Guide to Collapsed Topics book

The Complete Guide to Collapsed Topics book on a book stand

Inside the Complete Guide to Collapsed Topics.

NOTE: The latest version incorporates functionality to support new UK / EU Cookie Law which is implemented as a user acceptance in the 1.9 version and no 'cookie' is used at all in 2.x versions.

Screen casts:

Privacy API support starts with V3.3.1.2 for M3.3 and V3.4.0.2 for M3.4 where the API has been implemented in the minor release of Moodle.


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Gareth J Barnard
Gareth J Barnard (Lead maintainer)
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Comments RSS


  • Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 3:36 PM
    I can not restore the situation to what it was before the upgrade
    But it also happened to me in several courses when I upgraded from 2.5 to 3.0
    I did not receive complaints about courses that were in a different format
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 3:42 PM
    Do you have a backup mbz file from M3.0? Did you tell me previously about the 2.5 to 3.0 upgrade issue? I don't have enough information to be able to replicate, please provide what I've asked for in terms of screen shots and replication instructions.
  • Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 3:55 PM
    backup of what? all the moodle?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, Jun 29, 2018, 2:28 AM
    Hi Irith,

    As previously stated, the mbz (backup file) of a course affected, but the one from you would have made of the course before you undertook the upgrade.

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, Jun 29, 2018, 8:58 PM
    Hi Irith,

    Ok with the limited information available, I've done a test from M3.1 (cannot run M3.0 any more as MySQL version is newer) to M3.5 and cannot replicate where activities / resources are placed in one section when they were once in many. Please post screen shots of the issues on

  • Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 3:53 AM
    after modify the style.css I need to do sometihng else, or how can I see the changes applied to the course?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 5:55 AM
    Hi Jose,

    Purge all caches.

  • Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 5:03 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    Are you able to explain the difference between this plugin and the Collapsible topics format (format_collapsibletopics) plugin please?

    Thanks in advance,

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sat, Jul 28, 2018, 1:04 AM
    Hi Steve,

    I see you've already posted the same question here: and got a response. Collapsed Topics supports both Bootstrap 2.3.2 and 4, has remembered toggle states and lots of additional functionality.

  • Mon, Jul 30, 2018, 4:26 PM
    Thanks Gareth
  • Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 12:01 AM
    We are using a plug-in called Collapsed Topics

    Is there a way of changing all topics in all courses from horizontal to vertical all at once?

    Or is the only way by making this change individually in each module?

    Kind regards
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Jan 10, 2019, 8:11 PM
    Hi Usman,

    Yes there is. Look in the course settings.

    Kind regards,

  • Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 5:56 PM
    Hi Gareth
    Is there a way to remove the radio button on the right of each collapsed topic title (hovering shows "view only 'Topic ..'")?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 7:14 PM
    Dear Rob,

    The radio button on the right of each toggle is an integral part of the synergistic cohesive solution that Collapsed Topics provides as it deviates down a different path from what is provided in the core formats pertaining to the different and sometimes confusing views that can be established upon the same format with no immediate way of the user being able to change between them and thus getting frustrated.

    Kind regards,

  • Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 6:10 PM
    All topics can be open by default, but can I set individually which topic would be open by default? Usually just the topic 1 would be open by default, rest you need to click open.
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